WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -
Plunging temperatures have area firefighters taking extra precautions when heading out to winter fires.
"If you can imagine two or three inches of ice over that valve," Sergeant Jeff Need with the West Lafayette Fire Department said.
But even less than two or three inches of ice forming over equipment necessary to fight a fire could be extremely difficult for firefighters to get the job done.
"If you get two or three inches of ice on the valve, it could be difficult to open and close it," Sergeant Need explained.
With a recent cold snap, area firefighters said fighting a blaze in the winter could become extremely dangerous.
Sergeant Need said the water they use to fight fires mixed with freezing temperatures is the perfect recipe for ice to form on their equipment.
"Unfortunately when it gets this cold, it can freeze rather quickly once it stops moving," Sergeant Need said. "Once it stops moving, it's kind of the key in our business is that as long as we keep the water moving it's less likely to freeze."
Inspector Todd Trent with the Lafayette Fire Department said it comes down to overcoming these additional battles while fighting a fire, something he said isn't easy.
"Say if then a hydrant is frozen, then they have to adapt and overcome that and go to another hydrant that might be down the road," Inspector Trent said. "They would then have to hook up and it would be away from the fire."
"If we have to go somewhere, even for a medical call and have to go somewhere and leave our trucks out for a long period of time, we'll take the time and let it re-circulate to keep that water from freezing," Sergeant Need said. "If we do have a fire, we're ready to go."
Both Sergeant Need and Inspector Trent said there have not been any serious problems when battling fires in the cold thus far this winter. However, they said area firefighters are prepared for the worst and for what's to come the rest of winter.